Earlier in the FIFA World Cup, we had various milestones involving women referees. France’s Stéphanie Frappart became the first woman to officiate a Men’s World Cup match as the fourth official during Mexico–Poland. Then Rwanda’s Salima Mukansanga was the first African woman to be fourth official.
Further history was made as Frappart, along with Brazil’s Neuza Back and Mexico’s Karen Díaz, will be the first all-woman referee crew at a Men’s World Cup. Those three are working the final Group E match between Costa Rica–Germany where both teams need a result to have a shot at advancing.
For the first time ever, an all-female refereeing crew takes the field to officiate a men's FIFA World Cup match 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/y7ljNBTtbm
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 1, 2022
I’m in no way trying to downplay this moment. This is no doubt a great moment and in the competitive field of refereeing, it shows that women belong on the world’s stage.
That being said, the timing of all this does feel like FIFA is doing this, not because they believe that women should be in these high-profile positions but to get positive PR and deflect from the endless controversy of having this World Cup in Qatar.
Even if there was an ulterior motive, the fact is that it happened, and it’s great that these women are taking charge. And as long as this continues and women referees are a part of men’s and women’s games, then that’ll tell us if FIFA is being serious about equality.